Mar 10

The last couple of days have been eventful, yet not at the same time. In keeping with African time, the doctor we were supposed to meet yesterday at 1, wasn’t at the hospital. Actually, she wasn’t even in the city and today told us she is never in the city on Mondays, yet she set up the time and day at which to meet us. Why she chose a day she wouldn’t be here has alluded us.

Instead of working in the hospital, we decided to take a morning nap, get a snack for lunch, and then check out the pool at a hotel. During our snack, a young girl (age 13) came up to us and pleasantly introduced herself and asked us to buy her a drink. It was obvious after a few minutes that she was mentally challenged. Interestingly, she has been one of the nicest strangers we’ve met! There was a man at the bakery as well whom Mary (the girl) was talking to, and she very seriously informed him that although we were white, we were humans just like them. He proceeded to tell her that Jon would probably want her (this little bit is rather disturbing). I didn’t hear this, but Jon did and got the feeling that the man was trying to warn Mary and so we wonder if she gets taken advantage of by men. Based on posters we’ve seen, cross generational sex is something the country is working to erradicate, so men also taking advantage of girls who are mentally challenged seems quite possible (and certainly it happens at home too). We hope we are wrong.

Mary seemed to be relatively well cared for and she goes to school and can read and her English was nearly perfect. After sharing a snack with her, she commented that our feet were so clean (they were really quite far from it!) and hers were so dirty because someone had stolen her shoes. We couldn’t exactly walk away without getting her some shoes, especially when they’re so easy to get. People practically line the streets selling shoes! So, we followed her to the shoes and made sure they fit well and that she liked them. She was so proud of her new (used) shoes! It was really quite cute and she definitely made our day!

After parting with Mary, we made our way to the pool where we swam in a bit of paradise. It was so nice to be in cool water and get some relief from the heat. Once refreshed, we went in search of food again but had to settle on good ‘ol rice and beans. We don’t really know where the good eats are here, so we pretty much stick to our hotel.

Today, we managed to find the doctor and learned she only works Tuesday through Thursday! Not really sure if there’s a doctor there the rest of the time, but our hunch is no. We sometimes wonder if we’re still missing something, but what we see is medical students who work really hard all day and read tons when they’re not on the wards and then doctors who seem to do very little.

Once all the introductions were made, we started rounds on the patients (pediatric ones). Two hours and 4 patients later, with around 8 to go, the doctor informed us she had to leave and would meet with us again at 2 for a lecture. We arrived at 2, waited until 3, and then left deciding to read about tropical medicine. 🙂

We’re not sure what the rest of the week will bring, but we’ll be sure to report back with both the exciting and mundane!

Katie

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